Feature: For Your Disapproval ’10 Style

Looking back through 2010, trying to weed through all the great music and moments proved to be a daunting task. Not only was the year so strong for the D/FW local scene, it was strong everywhere else. With the exception of slots 1 & 2, I finally had to compile this list based on what I listened to most during 2010. These are those records:

01. Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart

02. The Bright Light Social Hour – The Bright Light Social Hour

03. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

04. The Burning Hotels – Novels

05. The National – High Violet

06. Toadies – Feeler

07. The Sword – Warp Riders

08. Melvins – The Bride Screamed Murder

09. Doug Burr – O Ye Devastator

10. The Orbans – When We Were Wild

11. Sarah Jaffe – Suburban Nature

12. Quiet Company – Songs For Staying In EP

13. Interpol – Interpol

14. Foals – Total Life Forever

15. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – Grace Potter And The Nocturnals

16. Elvis Costello – National Ransom

17. The Black Keys – Brothers

18. The Cush – Between The Leaves

19. Kylesa – Spiral Shadow

20. White Hills – White Hills

21. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier

This was a great year for music. Not just locally, but in general.  I already posted my year end wrap up of local happenings and couldn’t get all the great stuff that happened in 2010, and trying to integrate the asinine amount of strong locals into the grand scheme muscled out several records that were unable to make this year’s drinking age list of albums. Therefore, sorry Kings of Leon, Cee-Lo, Band Of Horses, Devo, Grinderman,  Roky Erickson/Okkervil River, Broken Social Scene, Belle & Sebastian, New Pornographers, Wolf Parade and High On Fire. You all made fantastic records, but the D/FW scene was just too strong for you in 2010.

Repeating their 2008 list topping feat was Black Mountain with their third album, Wilderness Heart. This record is fantastic, with all the elements that made me love the previous album, In The Future, but a bit more cohesive. Their “Dropout Boogie Tour” with Austin’s The Black Angels, who had a particularly strong outing this year with their latest Phosphene Dream, was a live highlight, and I didn’t even have to wreck my car going to Austin for it. The tour’s late November stop in Oak Cliff’s The Kessler Theater was a perfect match, and one of the best shows of the year.

It was a strong year for Austin bands in general, with Quiet Company’s Songs For Staying In and The Sword’s Warp Riders making the list this year.  I was turned on to 2 other Austin based bands, one being Monahans who released an albums worth of free songs online this year (all are up on their site until 12/31 – go get them!). Besides Monahans, there was The Bright Light Social Hour, whose self-titled debut was narrowly edged out of the top spot by Black Mountain. This is the, THE find for me of the year. With an album and live show SO strong, how can you miss? I have touted this as the find of the year since they hit their third song at Dia de los Toadies Tres in New Braunfels back in August and nothing changed the rest of the year. If you haven’t gotten out and seen them yet, do so. It’s brilliant and just pure fun.

Speaking of what has been deemed (not by me, and I’m just sick about it) the “Willie’s Picnic for the Younger Generation”, Dia de Los Toadies celebrated its third year in style at Whitewater Creek in New Braunfels, and only strengthened this year. Cementing itself as the summer end destination event to see through huge sets from Heartless Bastards, Black Joe Lewis, Centro-matic and Sleepercar as well as the already mentioned Bright Light Social Hour and the expansion to a second day of acoustic performances proves that Fort Worth’s favorite exports had much more life in them than their original label, Interscope thought – well past their beloved 1994 major label debut Rubberneck. If the 12 years late release of Feeler didn’t already make Interscope look stupid, this certainly should.

Another discovery had nothing to really do with Texas and came out of nowhere at me in December… Cleveland’s mr. Gnome. Their show at The Double-wide was an aural delight, as is their 2009 album Heave Yer Skeleton. Just this morning word came through that they are finished with their third full-length and will hopefully hit the road soon with it in tow. Also from the where did that come from file, Arlington Tx’s The House Harkonnen blind-sided a good portion of us this year with strong showings in front of very loyal Toadies and Dwarves fan-bases. With 6 records in about as many years, and a 7th on the way, I again ask… where have these guys been? (although they are probably tired of me asking that… last time. Promise.)

Otherwise, I saw much more music this year than I have in a long time, Sleep’s reunion tour in Austin, revisited the original Clash of The Titans lineup, this time done right with Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax opening the show (big props to Jay Sutton on both, I have not forgotten). Not only did the revisited Clash of the Titans tour –this time dubbed American Carnage – start in Dallas (as it did in ’91), but the highly anticipated Iron Maiden and reformed classic Guided By Voices lineup began their treks in Dallas as well.

2010’s installment of the Austin City Limits Festival seemed to polarize the crowds talking about it, with headliners Phish and The Eagles, but it appeared the lion’s share of people at the festival were not budging during their respective sets. And by lion’s share I mean upwards of 40,000 concert-goers for each set (give or take a few). Over a 3 day period saw over 25 bands traipsing around Zilker Park, Including the aforementioned headliners, The Sword, Sonic Youth, Muse, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Flaming Lips, The National, Foals, Band of Horses, Norah Jones (just to name a few) and the worst act I’ve ever had the displeasure of running across at an ACL, JD and the Straight Something or other. Just terrible.

Also on the festival front, we crossed our fingers and waited (in vain) for another Wall of Sound Festival to be announced… alas it didn’t happen. Maybe we’ll have to do something like Synapticon in 2011…?

I know more happened in music for me this year, but the 40 year old brain is still trying to wrap itself around this and all the local music happenings as well.

Thanks for spending the second half of 2010 with The Synaptic. Here’s to an even more fruitful 2011, I hope you decide to spend it with us as well.

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~ by thesynaptic on December 21, 2010.

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